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Grow Your Cucumbers Vertically and Save Space.

By Newyorkrita
April 12, 2014

If you are short on space in your vegetable garden, as I am, then up is the way to go!

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Name: shirlee
southeast (Zone 6b)
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mistyfog
Apr 11, 2014 10:54 PM CST
Agree with you Rita. Cukes do grow much better when allowed to climb.
We use an A-frame which does require more space, but one can pick them
from underneath and on the outside of the frame.
However, since we are reducing our garden size, the vertical position seems
quite appropriate.

Great tip for those who are space challenged.
Name: Claud
Water Valley, Ms (Zone 7b)
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saltmarsh
Apr 12, 2014 12:19 AM CST
I couldn't agree more. I grew them for the first time last year on 59" high plastic vegetable trellis and the only thing I'm doing different this year is planting more. Planted a row on both sides of the trellis with 18" between the rows and 2 seeds per hill and 10" between hills. Thinned the plants to one per hill after first true leaves (if a skip occurred I left 2 plants in the next hill). I removed all suckers so only the main stem remained. The only problem was during peak production, they had to be picked twice a day to keep them from getting too big if left overnight. (And I don't use any fertilizer, just the grass and weeds you see growing in the middle ) Claud

Note: They along with the squash and pole beans respond especially well to the Horsetail tea and Lactobacillus I spray on my vegetables.

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[Last edited by saltmarsh - Apr 12, 2014 12:33 AM (+)]
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Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
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Newyorkrita
Apr 12, 2014 10:20 AM CST
Fabulous set up! I only wish I had that kind of room.
Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
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beckygardener
Apr 12, 2014 4:40 PM CST
Claud - I will probably sound really stupid, but what is Horsetail tea and Lactobacillus????

Your veggie gardens look amazing! Wow!!! I am impressed. What time of the year do you grow them?
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Name: Toni Melvin
Sherwood Oregon (Zone 8a)
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Toni
Apr 12, 2014 5:01 PM CST
Claud ~ thank you for posting wonderful garden pictures. I also wondered what horsetail tea is, and how do you spray lactobacillus. I make yogurt so have whey, but do you buy lactobacillus in powder form....?
I also wondered what the boxes are in your avatar picture. They look like langstroth bee hive boxes.

Thanks,
Toni
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Name: Linda
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mom2goldens
Apr 12, 2014 7:22 PM CST
I also am a firm believer in growing Cucumbers vertically. Not only saved space, but the cukes seem to do much better.
Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
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beckygardener
Apr 12, 2014 7:25 PM CST
Weird question .... could cukes be twined in a small tree? I have my cukes growing under a Cassia Tree. I am once again starting them too late (with the watermelons), but thought I'd grow them on a long shot! Bugs and mildew always get my cukes before I can collect any for eating.
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
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Name: Claud
Water Valley, Ms (Zone 7b)
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saltmarsh
Apr 13, 2014 1:11 AM CST
beckygardener said:Claud - I will probably sound really stupid, but what is Horsetail tea and Lactobacillus????

Your veggie gardens look amazing! Wow!!! I am impressed. What time of the year do you grow them?


Thanks Becky and Toni. I don't use any commercial pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers. I'm not organic and don't have any desire to be. All natural is what I work on and strive for. I spend a lot of time and effort trying to turn problems into assets. Horsetail tea and Lactobacillus are two of the tools I use to help me do this.

Horsetail tea is made from Equisetum arvense. General info about horse tails: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equisetum
Specific info about Equisetum Arvense. The common horsetail (and the only variety which is edible): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equisetum_arvense

Horsetail tea is high in silicon, potassium, and calcium which most plants can benefit from. I use it as a preventative spray to strengthen my plants, but it is an effective fungicide and will stop many active infections of blights dead in their tracks if applied at the first sighs of an attack. It won't bring dead or dying plants back to life.

Toni, I make my Lactobacillus inocculant from organic plain yogurt, specifically Stonyfield whole milk plain yogurt available from Kroger. It has more (7) types of Lactobacillus than most (2 or even 1). Also Stonyfield's has Lactobacillus from all three groups. The more the merrier. I separate the curds from the whey. The curds will become some of the most delicious cream cheese you'll ever put in your mouth. The whey (One quart of yogurt will yield about 2/3 pint of whey) is placed in a clean quart jar and add 1/3 pint (2/3 cup) of table molasses. Stir until all of the molasses is dissolved. Cover with a stocking and place the jar in a dark place where it won't be disturbed for 10 days. I also fill seven 2 liter bottles with tap water and leave them loosely capped when I mix the whey and molasses. This allows the clorine in the water to evaporate. After 10 days I pour 6 of the 2 liter bottles of water into an enameled steel canner and stir in the whey (no heat) then pour back into the 2 liter bottles. Use the seventh 2 liter bottle of water to wash your hands or utensils while bottleing the Lactobacillus, no fresh tap water at this stage.
The quart of yogurt will make about 3 gallons of inocculant, requires no refrigeration and will keep for 3 years if stored in a dark place. I keep mine in a closet. To use mix 1/8 cup per gallon of spray. It helps to prevent mildew.

When do I grow them? After the soil temp reaches 70 degrees and I think the danger of frost is over. Coincidentally I planted the cucumbers, squash, and pole beans this afternoon. Claud
Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
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beckygardener
Apr 13, 2014 6:21 AM CST
Thank you, Claud for the information! I had no clue whatsoever! Very, very interesting!
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Name: Misti
Farrrr NW Houston (Zone 9a)
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Misti
Apr 13, 2014 6:59 AM CST
I always thought it was weird people grew them on the ground. We've used tomato cages for ours before to grow them, but anything they can latch on to and climb will work great.
Name: Critter (Jill)
MD (Zone 6b)
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critterologist
Apr 14, 2014 10:10 AM CST
When do you use the lactobaccilus? seed/seedling stage? foliar feed? thanks for the easy recipe directions!
I'm learning to dance in the rain. Thank you, Sally & Chris.
Name: Claud
Water Valley, Ms (Zone 7b)
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saltmarsh
Apr 14, 2014 2:57 PM CST
critterologist said:When do you use the lactobaccilus? seed/seedling stage? foliar feed? thanks for the easy recipe directions!


Jill, to answer your question, I have to explain my approach. I try to control insects in the garden by confusing and repelling them from my vegetables while at the same time providing them with something they prefer to eat. If the insects don't lay their eggs on your vegetables you've solved a lot of your insect problems before they start.

I use a Garlic, Red Pepper, and Sage tea to confuse and repel the insects. This doesn't kill them but it does make them think they've landed on the wrong plant and move on. To make 3 gallons of concentrated tea which makes 6 gallons of spray. Add 1/2 cup each of powdered garlic, powdered red pepper, and powdered sage to 3 1/4 gallons of hot tap water (I use a 16 quart stock pot so it has plenty of room.). Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a slow boil for 15 minutes. Allow to cool overnight (don't want to play with hot liquids). Strain through a stocking and it's ready to use. To strain it I pour it through a stocking stretched over a wide mouth gallon pickle jar, then pour it into 2 litre drink bottles for use. Let the leavings dry and spread them around the base of your plants. The empty spice containers work well for this. This tea is stable and will last on the shelf for well over a year, just shake well before using.

Molasses Water. Molasses acts as a sticker for the spray. Once the spray dries it isn't easily washed off by rain or dew. It is also good for your plants and soil (promotes microbial activity) because of its mineral content (Calcium, Iron, Magnesium). I also add Horsetail tea and Lactobacillus to the molasses water as I make it to simplify things at spray time.
I make this double strength so I can add a 2 litre bottle of it to a 2 litre bottle of garlic, pepper and sage tea to make 4 litres of spray
My tap water has chlorine so I have to bottle it and allow it to sit for 24 hours so the chlorine can evaporate then it's safe to use with my Lactobacillus.

To make a 2 litre bottle of molasses water start with a clean 2 liter bottle, and fill it about 1/3 full of non-chlorinated water then add 1/8 cup Lactobacillus, 1 1/8 cups of Horsetail tea and 1 teaspoon of molasses. Cap and shake well until the molasses is dissolved. Finish filling with non-chlorinated water.

Now to make 4 litres of spray simply pour a bottle of the garlic, pepper and sage tea and a bottle of molasses water into your sprayer and add 1 tablespoon of Palmolive Orange Dishwashing Liquid and you're good to go. The dishwashing liquid contains Orange oil as well as detergent which will kill any number of soft bodied insects such as aphids, cutworms and a number of other undesirables.

This may sound like overkill but let me explain how I use this and what it will do and hopefully get back on topic. When I plant my cucumber seed (or any other seed) I spray the bed after planting to kill any cutworms on the surface but it will also mask the odor of the seeds you planted so raccoons, possums, squirrels and birds don't dig them up. I spray again when most of the seeds are up.

My garden is surrounded by pasture so I have an endless supply of insects good and bad. The grass and weeds in between my beds are like the pasture most of my insects migrate from and are there to act as a trap crop for the insects, become fertilizer as the clippings rot and slow runoff when it rains so more of the rainwater soaks into the soil. I don't spray the middles. When I mow the middles I kill a lot of insects, but I also disturb a lot, so after I mow I spray my plants to drive the insects back to the middles.

When I spray I tend to concentrate on new growth including fruit clusters because it's unprotected. The cucumbers vines and fruit grow about 2 inches per day so they require more frequent spraying than most. Pruning the suckers and picking the cucumbers will let you see any problems (a patch of mildew, cucumber beatles, eggs on the leaves of the suckers you've removed) early on. Crushing a group of eggs with your fingers can be more effective than spraying after they've hatched. Pickle worm eggs hatch in about 4 days; Squash bug eggs in about 10 days. Squashed eggs will never hatch and are a lot easier to find when the vines are on a trellis rather than on the ground. Claud
Name: Critter (Jill)
MD (Zone 6b)
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critterologist
Nov 14, 2014 7:59 AM CST
My apologies, Claud! I read through your wonderful explanation in spring and thought I'd posted a response, but coming back to this thread now I don't see my "thank you!!!" post.

So, THANK YOU! for a great explanation of both method & theory. I especially appreciate that you've figured out a way to do a combo spray to kill some insects, confuse others, foliar-feed, etc., all in one application.

Hope you had a great summer garden!

I'm learning to dance in the rain. Thank you, Sally & Chris.

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